Over the weekend, the United Kingdom expressed concern over reports of military interference in the governorship and state assembly elections in Rivers state that held on Saturday, March 9th.
In a tweet via @UKinNigeria’s verified handle, the high commission wrote
Extremely concerned by reports, including from our observers, of military interference in the election process in Rivers State. Monitoring the situation closely. @inecng staff must be allowed to do their job in safety, without intimidation”.
The Army has released a statement denying claims of interfering in the elections in Rivers state. The Army says the claims against it is totally untrue and baseless. Read the statement below;
RE: UK EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN RIVERS POLL
The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to a publication by an online medium that reported accusation against the NA of interference in the Rivers State elections.
The NA wishes to state that the statement is totally baseless, untrue and therefore capable of misleading unsuspected members of the public, especially when there is no credible record of such involvement any where in Nigeria before, during and after the 2019 elections.
The NA, as a responsible organisation, wishes to debunk such misrepresentation in order to set the record straight. Similarly, it is on record that the NA has been globally applauded by many individuals, foreign and local elections observers for its sacrifices/roles in creating an enabling environment for a secure, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections.
The NA has also drawn the attention of the public to mischievous activities of some selfish individuals who recruited thugs dressed in military uniform and armed to harass and intimidate their opponents. In some cases, as reported, and as indicated in various intelligence reports, – hoodlums dressed in military fatigue snatched ballot boxes and other electoral materials. Some INEC staff were reportedly abducted.
The NA, for the umpteenth time, reiterate that it will remain apolitical, neutral and professional in the conduct of the 2019 general election and in all its assigned roles across the nation in line with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai.
The NA has made it clear that its only interest and role in the entire electioneering processes is purely to assist civil authority and the Nigerian Police to have a secure and peaceful conduct of the elections.
Foreign interests are therefore enjoined to be mindful of interfering in our national internal affairs especially when there is no credible evidence. Any allegation against the NA must be confirmed from appropriate quarters before jumping to conclusions.
Members of the public are further assured of the determination of the NA to objectively carry out its constitutional duties irrespective of the baseless accusations especially from those who felt it has denied them freedom to illegally and selfishly subvert the choice of Nigerians.
As a noble institution, the NA, hereby, reassure members of the public of its determination to deal with any of its personnel whose actions fall foul of the law.